Deserving a medal for her tenacity and ability to remain cheerful, even on the dullest of Bristol days, Lily Violet May has been trading as an independent florist since June 2013, based at Bristol Temple Meads.
The friendly face you see to your left of the railway station entrance, each morning as you hurry to your train, five minutes behind schedule, would be Lily. She relentlessly arranges, wraps and presents each unique bouquet, pot-plant and succulent to your request, before sending you on your way into the crowds…
Lily is originally from Hampshire but moved to London to train in Fine Art at Byamshaw School of Art. She gained valuable work experience when she moved to Brighton and worked at Go Botanica, and soon made the decision to move to Bristol:
“After having worked for a short while at a couple of other florist shops in Bristol, I set my heart on opening my own stall at Temple Meads… It wasn’t a fast process though. I first got in touch with the station over a year before I opened!” Lily explains.
Prepared to brave all weathers, it can be tough, especially when commuters are hesitant to stop, for fear of missing their train. Lily has developed a bit of a resistance, however, and has had to grow a thick skin (literally):
“The toughest thing about being out in all weathers is probably putting your fingers in icy, cold buckets of water giving you permanently cold fingers!” Lily says.
“Bristol has to be the most accepting and welcoming city. There is such a good community feeling, especially independents. I think as a city we pride
ourselves on that!”
Being a florist is more than simply arranging. It involves having a real empathy for people, their needs, their personalities, and their wishes and hopes. Lily prides herself on being able to subtly judge each customer with a unique and tailored approach:
“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to analyse what it is that people want, often without them even knowing themselves, and creating something beautiful that makes them happy!”
So often in our hectic lives, it can be easy to lose sight of the little details – those thoughtful gestures that really mean a lot, and florists know all too well, the importance of keeping these traditions alive:
“The gift of flowers is such an old fashioned tradition that has slowly developed and changed over the years but the idea is still the same. It’s simple and beautiful, and when you receive a bouquet, it’s difficult not to smile!” Lily says.
This festive season, Lily offers individualised gifts including the usual wreaths and table arrangements, as well as her lovely metallic-rim terracotta pots – perfect for succulents and cacti.
Throughout December, Lily is busy decorating the hearts of many a Bristol watering hole, and she will also be trading at her usual pitch outside of Bristol Temple Meads (perhaps – we hope – taking a break for Christmas, too).
For more information: www.lilyvioletmay.co.uk